Miami made one of the biggest moves of its offseason Thursday, acquiring Straily in exchange for three minor league prospects, all of which are among Miami’s top 16 (per MLBPipeline.com), notables in a system deemed one of the worst in baseball.
Since the Winter Meetings, the Marlins have been reportedly seeking more pitching depth. It seemed signing a major league veteran or two to minor league deals was all that would happen between now and the start of Spring Training. After all, the club built a “super bullpen” of sorts for a reason.
You can pick your reason for why this trade doesn’t really make sense, because there are plenty to choose from. On the surface, the deal doesn’t align with Miami’s offseason goal. If the objective was to put together the best bullpen possible, what value is there in adding a middle-tier starting pitcher?
Dig a bit deeper and you will realize the Marlins don’t really have a rotation spot for Straily. They can easily create one by sending Jeff Locke to the bullpen, also adding a valuable lefty arm to that unit. Though there isn’t such a thing as too much starting depth, the Marlins have quite a few arms to consider.
Then, you can wonder if the Marlins overpaid, which by all indications, they seemed to. They were fortunate to receive pitching prospect Luis Castillo back in the failed Colin Rea deal with San Diego last summer, but packaging Castillo, Austin Brice and Isaiah White for a few years of Straily seems a bit extreme.
There were major league clubs willing to send the Marlins a major league starting pitcher in exchange for just Castillo at the trade deadline, according to SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo. With such a package, the fact the Marlins are only receiving Straily, who has pitched to an ERA below four just three times in his career, is notable.
Straily will add valuable depth, and it’s very possible he improves the Marlins rotation entering 2017. And, as it always is, it’s important to note prospects are just that until they prove to be effective major league players. However, at the very least, Castillo is reportedly expected to pitch in the majors in some capacity this season.
Give the Marlins credit, because the fact they made this deal again proves that this organization is confident in its core and wants to win now. It proves they aren’t looking ahead and want to field a competitive team after falling just short last season.
But we already knew the Marlins were in “win now” mode, and we know how they feel about their core. Straily could end up having the best numbers of any Marlins starter next season. At this point in time, though, this trade doesn’t seem to fit.